Fakir Salam Shah is a familiar name at the Mirpur upazila in Kushtia for his devotion to Fakir Lalon Shah’s philosophy and his skills to render baul songs in their original forms.
In an interview with New Age during a recent visit to Fakirabad, the Lalon devotee talked about degradation of values in modern life, detachment from roots, and how a mystical life can help bring peace of mind.
‘Some narrow-minded and bigoted people in our society are cultivating and spreading hatred and igniting communal unrest. They are also launching attacks on the innocents including women and children,’ said Salam Fakir, insisting that only spiritual awakening could solve these problems.
He said modern people are fast moving away from their roots, and in the process have developed a sense of detachment from their own self and lost peace of mind.
Fakir Salam has been leading a life of baul for the last 44 years. He was first inspired to adopt this lifestyle by his farmer father, who was a disciple of Shadhan Shah Fakir.
He was initiated into the baul community after he pledged allegiance to Sohrab Shah Fakir, following a tradition in which a disciple gives him/herself up to a guru for spiritual enlightenment.
‘I was inspired by the spiritual books by Manchu Shah and Panju Shah, from my father’s collections. These books made me curious as to why the people pray only for a place in heaven instead of trying to explore their relationship with the creator of heaven, the God,’ he pondered.
He added, ‘I realised that a mystical life – and love and care for others – is the way to connect with God and attain balance and peace of mind.’
Fakir Salam Shah attained Khilafat, authority to keep disciples, about 18 years ago. He now lives with his wife Zaki Fakirani at a village close to Chheuria, where the shrine of Lalon is located.
Fakir Salam Shah mainly leads a baul life and occasionally sings the songs of Lalon Shah, Panju Shah, and Duddu Shah as well as Pala Gaan and Kabi Gaan at village courtyards.
Although he is a member of Lalon Academy, he seldom gets invitation to musical events hosted by the district administration, but he said he is okay with that.
‘Being bauls, my wife and I lead a very simple life and meet our needs via alms. This is fine.’
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